Although older African Americans are twice as likely to have Alzheimer’s disease as non-Hispanic whites, diagnosis and treatment are more likely to be delayed. In addition, Applied Clinical Trials reports African American participation in clinical trials of potential Alzheimer’s disease treatments has declined to only two percent. Despite an increasingly ethnically diverse US population, African Americans, Hispanics, and other minorities are under-represented in medical research. As a study published in Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders found, over 95 percent of subjects in a typical Alzheimer’s disease clinical trial are white.
“I suffer from Alzheimer’s myself – and know how critical clinical trials are to accelerating cures for brain disease,” said B. Smith. “It’s important that we hear from people of all communities in order to find the best treatments and cures, especially for specific populations.”
Recognizing minority participation in clinical trials is a national health issue, the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Office of Minority Health is focused on ensuring all clinical trials include a diverse population. The underrepresentation of minorities in clinical trials means treatments may not be as effective as they could be across diverse populations.
BHR is a free, online platform to enable people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds to participate in clinical trials related to cognitive health.
The registry builds a large pool of prescreened potential candidates and matches them with clinical trials across the country, saving time and money compared to the traditional clinical trial recruitment process. The ease for users to apply and participate in brain tests online allows for more diverse candidates into clinical trials, including underrepresented minorities like African Americans.
The Brain Health Registry currently has more than 10,000 members. It’s free to sign-up, and anyone 18 and over can participate by visiting try.brainhealthregistry.org.
“When trials are faster, better and less expensive, investigators can test more theories and try new therapeutic approaches. The prospects for breakthrough innovation increase – and that’s what is needed to find effective treatments and cures,” said Weiner.
“We need to increase the number of African Americans in clinical trials if we’re going to get serious about Alzheimer’s,” said Dan Gasby, B. Smith’s husband. “The fastest way to do that is to participate in the Brain Health Registry for free.”
The public service announcement, filmed in New York, goes live in February to coincide with Black History Month and will be broadcast across TV and radio stations around the United States. Television segments are 15 and 30 seconds long with radio segments 15, 30 and 60 seconds in length.
For more information on the Brain Health Registry, please visit try.brainhealthregistry.org.
About B. Smith
B. Smith is an iconic restaurateur, author and pioneering transcultural lifestyle expert. She was heralded by The New York Times as “a Renaissance woman,” by Chuck Scarborough as a “domestic goddess,” by the New York Daily News as “one of the most important African-American style mavens of all time,” and honored with a 2012 Silver Spoon Award for sterling performance by Food Arts. A broadcast talent, entrepreneurial spokesperson and multiple award-winning recipient across a wide range of fields, Smith also earned kudos when she returned to the stage in her off-Broadway debut in “Love, Loss and What I Wore,” the award-winning play by Nora and Delia Ephron. In 2012, Smith was inducted into the American Chef Corps, part of the U.S. Department of State’s newly formed Diplomatic Culinary Partnership with the James Beard Foundation. For more information, visit www.bsmith.com.
About the Brain Health Registry
The Brain Health Registry (BHR) is a groundbreaking free, online platform designed to speed the path to cures for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson's, depression, PTSD, mild cognitive impairment and other brain disorders. BHR gathers cognitive data from volunteers who have registered and completed questionnaires and cognitive tests on the BHR website. BHR aims to reduce the cost of patient recruitment for clinical trials by building a large online pool of potential candidates. The registry is led by Dr. Michael Weiner, professor of radiology and biomedical engineering, medicine, psychiatry and neurology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), along with other UCSF researchers and leading scientific institutions. For more information, visit try.brainhealthregistry.org.
About Dan Gasby
Dan Gasby is a businessman and television executive. Previously, his wife and business partner, B. Smith, teamed up for their first radio show with the world’s largest radio broadcaster. "The B. Smith and ‘Thank You Dan’ Show" ran daily during a three-hour segment on SiriusXM’s Urban View station, channel 128. The show had access to more than 23 million subscribers that joined in on their insightful conversations about healthy living, food, entertaining, succeeding in business, as well as sharing their secrets to a successful relationship. As Chairman of B. Smith Enterprises, Ltd., Gasby oversaw the day-to-day operations for all three B. Smith restaurants. Gasby is a member of the Board of Trustees at American University in Washington, D.C., and longtime member of the Board of Governors of the International Radio and Television Society Foundation.